Sex-ed protesters plan to keep kids home from school Tuesday
Protesters are seen gathered in Thorncliffe Park Saturday to rally against Ontario's new sex education curriculum, which will be rolled out this fall.
Published Saturday, September 5, 2015 10:22PM EDT
With teachers and administrators readying for the back-to-school grind next week, some parents say their children will be kept home on opening day to send a firm message to the Ontario government over the controversial new sex education curriculum.
Shouts of “Shame! Shame!” and “We say no!” were cried by protesters as they waved placards in Thorncliffe Park Saturday afternoon.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose government passed the divisive curriculum in the spring, visited a community barbecue nearby.
The new curriculum includes teachings on same-sex relationships, consent, online bullying and sexting. Students will also learn about masturbation, gender expression and contraception.
The changes to the Physical and Health Education curriculum were made as a way to bring Ontario up to speed with other provinces, according to education minister Liz Sandals. It is the first update to the curriculum in 17 years.
Gathered outside a Thorncliffe Park housing complex, the multicultural mix of parents and children banged drums and passed around a microphone to air their dissent. Several described the curriculum as “dirty.”
“On the opening day of school, we are not sending our children. But our children will be on the roads. We will be having our home school on these streets,” one parent told CTV Toronto.
The nearby Thorncliffe Park Public School, which has a large population of Muslim students, had one of the highest numbers of absent students last May when a similar protest was held to rally against the curriculum. More than 34,700 elementary school students across the Toronto District School Board were absent the day of the protest, according to spokesperson Ryan Bird.
The Saturday demonstration is the latest in a series of protests across the province. An Ontario-wide day of protest, organized by anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition, was held last Wednesday.
The Liberal government isn’t flinching on its commitment to introduce the curriculum this fall, saying the update is long overdue.
With files from CTV Toronto